enter fruitsblogsket, where blog meets fruits basket, one of my favorite anime titles. FruitsBlogsket is my personal fansite dedicated for Fruits Basket. You'll read my blog, find avatars, wallpapers, read the Sohma diaries, discover what Tohru and the Sohmas are doing and many more. Fruitsblogsket is an experimental fansite. Feel free to check the site.
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LOOKING BACK AND GOING BACK
It all started back in 2005. It was my freshman year studying in the University of the Philippines. And while I was just lying down on my bed, my roommate together with some of my friends were watching anime on the computer. By this point in my life, I've fallen away from being an 'otaku'. I mean I watched a lot of anime when I was in elementary. A lot. When I entered high school, I've completely lost interest. I never knew that my university friends would pull me back.
They were watching Naruto in my room. My friend burned 100+ episodes and he had this stack of CDs with him. I though, "What's so good about Naruto?" I heard about Naruto a year ago, back when I was in high school. But since I lost interest in anime during that period, I just ignored it.
I found it difficult not to join in on them, because they were all watching the computer. "So what the heck..." I thought. I stood up on my bunk bed and watched along with them. Since I wasn't familiar with Naruto, I was kept curious. And little by little it made sense why they're watching it. The story was so engrossing. And we couldn't stop playing the next episode either. "So this is Naruto?" So this is anime? I asked my friend if he brought other titles with him. "What genre do you prefer?" he asked. I said "...romantic comedy." And thus the start of our journey.
MY FRIEND NEIL
Neil is responsible for the stack of burned anime CDs in my dorm room. They were all subbed. My friend Neil showed me a couple of titles: Fruits Basket, Chobits, Onegai Sensei, and Hellsing. We watched Fruits Basket together with some friends in the room and... I was hooked in an instant. I fell in love with the story. And I didn't even know the term shoujo then. So Yeah. I watched a shoujo anime. And after those 26 episodes, I noticed immediately and said, "Neil, is this over? What happened next? They just come back home?" Neil answered that the Fruits Basket anime ending isn't really the ending -- the manga hasn't been completed yet (during that time). I searched for an anime fansite for Fruits Basket, and I only found a handful. I read some character profiles and I discovered more characters that were only exclusive to the manga. I wanted more of Fruits Basket and so I started reading the manga. But I wasn't satisfied.
HOOKED ON MAKING WEBSITES
Back tracking to the 2001, my older brother started a blog on blog-city.com, when it was still free. I was fascinated by it. "This is your home on the Internet?" I asked him. It was his space and people can read what he's writing about -- people anywhere. He could write what he wants. He had a website. I thought it was cool to have a website. And his design was awesome. It was so cool to see his work and I felt proud of him too. So that same year, I started one. I loved it. I loved the feeling of making one. It was fun.
DISCOVERING WHAT A FANSITE IS
The next year, I had a fair knowledge of designing a simple site. And my favorite cartoon, Disney's The Weekenders, was no longer airing on our cable. I felt the need to search for more information about the cartoon. I wanted to know if there were other episodes that didn't air on our cable, episode summaries, and some screenshots. I found this fansite on Yahoo's Geocities.com (which is no longer in service) about The Weekenders and I was still young back then. But I found that fansite awesome. Back then, I didn't know much about HTML nor any serious design coding. But I noticed that the website was no longer being updated. So you know where this is going-- I-- *laughs* I sent an email to the owner writing I wanted to adopt the website. AHAHA. Unfortunately, the author didn't reply. HAHA. I was such a creeper. That's when I marked my word: I will build more than a blog; I'll create my own fansite SOMEDAY.
THE TERM 'MORE THAN A BLOG'.
Forward to 2004, my friend Rey, introduced me to Blogskins.com, where I could find templates for my personal high school blog. 2004 was a very emotional year. It's also the start of my HTML journey.
Basically, I taught myself HTML. No books; I just followed examples. It was a challenge, but I found it fun to code here and there. I played around with templates and that's why I thank Rey so much for showing me everything I needed.
THE JOKE THAT STARTED IT
Forward to September 2005, back to the first year of university, I showed my friend Janus my blog and he also became interested on making a blog. But he didn't know how to write nor to code. He wanted a blog, but he doesn't really have the time to write, so I made joke, "... why don't I write your blog for you?" then he laughed at me. "Are you going to play as me?"
BLESSING IN DISGUISE
October came -- I went home just in time because I had chickenpox. It took about two weeks for me to recover from chickenpox. So I was stuck in my room. At least I had TV and a computer. I also remember receiving a text message from my high school friends that they were throwing a party because it was sembreak. I missed out bigtime. But I wasn't at a loss.
I had the time I needed. I still wanted to watch anime, know more or do more about the titles I was following. Knowing that I wanted to do more, I wanted to express, write and design, taking into account that there was only a handful of Fruits Basket fansites on the web, I said to myself and rolled up my sleeve, "Let's build that fansite." Now, I know what fansite I'll be building.
I started building the foundation to my fansite called Animextension, where it would be a portfolio of the anime series I finished or the titles I was following. While doing the site, Love Hina was airing on the TV. And I found Love Hina awesome as well. I added Love Hina first because it felt daunting to create a site for Fruits Basket with some missing content. But I added a section for Fruits Basket afterwards.
Animextension was basically a portal; it was meant to be a portal for micro-sites. I was creating a micro-site for Love Hina and Fruits Basket, but I wasn't really good at naming websites back then. Plus, I just wanted to get it done. So I named a micro-site for Love Hina as Can You Feel Love Hina (a long name) and a micro-site for Fruits Basket as OnFruitsBasket. Several other titles followed, including a micro-site for School Rumble, InuYasha, Trigun and Samurai X. It took quite some time designing, debugging and adding content on each micro-site. I was doing this all by myself.
When it was safe for me to go out, when I got rid of my chickenpox, I stopped working on Animextension for a week to hang out with my high school friends. On the last week of my sembreak, I re-watched Fruits Basket on cable and other anime titles as well. And after checking the OnFruitsBasket, the FruBa micro-site, I noticed that it was kind of bland. You can only find character profiles, and some pictures. I thought that there should be more content to it. Definitely.
BRAINSTORM AND REALIZATION
One night, while I couldn't sleep, I had an epiphany. I had this brainstorm and it was hilarious. My joke on Janus echoed on me, "Why don't I write your blog for you?" THAT'S IT! Since I had already some experience on blogging, and in connection to my desire to express, design, write, build a fansite for Fruits Basket, I will make a blog for the Fruits Basket characters! I'll blog for them!
There was still time left from my sembreak. So I went to work on it. What should I name the site(s)? I thought I should give a proper name this time; a name that's simple, easily remembered and easily understood. Normally people put the word 'shrine' together with the name of an anime character's fansite, but I didn't want to use 'shrine'. Putting a shrine felt like I was worshiping an anime character. Which is silly.
Lord of the Rings was still popular back then. And I'm a big Lord of the Rings fan, so instead of writing shrine, I picked shire -- meaning 'a region'. It made sense. So I created Kyo's Shire first, mainly because I could relate to him better.
I didn't know the term roleplaying at that time. Nor fan fiction. Seriously. I didn't. But it turned out that writing a diary for a certain character already existed-- nevermind-- still, I started blogging about Kyo's fanfic misadventures. I found it really fun and it was also a great exercise. However, when Kyo's blog was complete, I asked myself, "Should I be making a blog for Tohru, Yuki and Shigure as well?" I realized I might've stepped on a landmine, because Fruits Basket has a big cast. Should I be making a blog for all of them?
The answer is... certainly.
I think I made a site for Shigure next. And then Yuki and Tohru's site simultaneously -- until Shigure's household was complete. Finally, I was able to decide on the story format that I'd be writing each blog/journal/diary entry to be intertwined with each other. For example: Kyo's writing about Tohru, Tohru might've written something about Kyo and Yuki, and Yuki might've written something about Kyo or Shigure-- you get the idea. Since I made it a goal to create a shire for each Fruits Basket character, I made a blog template. And eventually, I've been able to create a blog (or a shire) for each character.
I never stopped adding more content to onFruitsBasket microsite. Little by little, I've been able to find some sources to the Fruits Basket manga. That's when I wrote a list of every FB character. Eventually, I made a blog for almost everyone, including Shigure's assistant (a minor character). While completing the shires for onFruitsBasket, I was also making a blog for the Love Hina and Chobits characters. In an experiment, I've decided to put them in a portfolio site of their own, called Shirecentral. It would give you links to each of these blogs that I've created. Now that I think about it, I was such an otaku back then.
GALLERY COMPLETE AND GOODBYE ANIMEXTENSION
More and more content were added for each microsite of Animextension that it became confusing to navigate. It was time to retire my fansite. It was two years old. But it served its purpose well. The microsites were well enough to be on their own and they were too big to be called a 'micro'site. So I called in the decision to name a proper site with a clear purpose: to express my fan content and promote that anime title. onFruitsBasket becomes FruitsBlogsket (a mouthful), Can You Feel Love Hina stayed as CYF Love Hina (will be renamed Blog Hina soon) and Chobits became Chonegai (dormant and resting at blogdrive).
At this phase of learning HTML, I've come to discover the wonderful function of a simple code called 'marquee'. Back in 2006, instant messengers were still hip. And I've wanted to do an 'experiment'. The term Worldplay isn't recognized and I guess people don't know what Worldplay is. This is where I've wanted to play the world of an anime setting. Play with the dates, the weather, the locations and the people altogether to form a Worldplay. (I coined 'Worldplay' here, haha. And that was back in 2005 or 2006, lol) Anyway, since chat was still popular and with the use of the code 'marquee', I've been able to format a chat-like entry for the Worldplay experiment.
I've made a Worldplay for Fruits Basket called Furuba Worldplay (it was Furuba Territorial Project at first), a Love Hina Worldplay called Love Hina Project, and a Kare Kano Worldplay. I'm currently working on Harima Crossing, a Worldplay for School Rumble. With this kind of interesting and funny format of writing entries, I continued writing about the 'conversations' of the characters. Each conversation takes place in a specified location, for example Shigure's living room. It was just an experiment, but I kept adding and adding until I've completed the Shigure house markup. In Furuba Worldplay, I've also added the park, the Sohma Hotsprings, Ayame's specialty store and the Sohma Grounds. Furuba Worlplay is still growing by the way.
FRUITSBLOGSKET - A Fruits Basket Fansite
Fansites that I've noticed were only updated with the news specific to that fansite. In effect, it felt like it was sort of dead. In order to keep updating this fansite, I've made it as my blog too. I've decided that FruitsBlogsket be a blog and an experimental site, powering a Worldplay site called Furuba Worldplay. It started from a micro-site and left to be called as FruitsBlogsket in summer 2006. It was still premature and I've decided to work on it further adding most of the contents last October 2006. Similar to adding a webpage to the Worldplay, and the Shires, I've also placed a container for the gallery, FruitsBlogsket Gallery. The latest addition would be the Furuba Station, a station for the FB soundtracks.
FruitsBlogsket is on its 5th year and it's my baby, and I look at it as some sort of reflection of myself -- take note: some sort. There has been a lot of stories that has been told, sad stories, happy stories, funny stories, frustrating stories, confusing stories, stories about the reality of life.
What a long entry.
Thank you for your visit. You don't know how much I appreciate it. Thank you for the hits and it lets me keep going. Thank you for the comments and letters. Thank you for the inspiration. It's just awesome. It has been an amazing ride.
I almost fell off my chair when I checked my exam schedule. My first final exam, Micro-economics, has been pulled to Wednesday. I haven't started my final exam studying yet and I doubt I would be studying this Monday. It's funny and dangerous at the same time, because I don't want to read my lectures. I need a motivation and a jolt over the distractions at home. Or maybe I'm just tired and burned out. Anyway, it's really depressing that I only want to pass that exam and not get a flying grade on it. Once that Microeconomics is over, Thursday's going to be really a day off. I also have work after the final exam. I hate it when that happens. There was one time that I've had two midterms and then I had work afterwards. Anyway, if I do get bored at work, I'll study in the office.
What I'm really preparing for is my Programming II final exam. When my instructor gave us our worksheet, I felt miserable and confused. I hope they don't change the date. It'll be on the Tuesday evening. I'm not all against changing exam dates. I know some people don't like it, since it's Christmas and they've got the month planned out. But changing the exams to an earlier date can be a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because I can finish early provided that I was able to study. It's bad if I didn't get to study; less time to crunch those notes. I was just a bit surprised. It's funny, I'm surprised, and yet I don't want to study. GAH!